Tag: believe

Believing vs Following

Ruth D – My husband believes in Jesus, and he believes God raised Jesus from the dead, so it seems like Romans 10: 6-10 is saying he is saved, but he’s not in love with Jesus. So is he saved?

Dave – We can’t take one passage build an entire doctrine upon it. We need to take all verses in the Bible into consideration before drawing conclusions on questions and issues. Regarding this one, Jesus told people to not only believe in Him but to also follow Him. Many Americans will tell us that they believe in Jesus, meaning that He is the Messiah and died for our sins and rose from the dead. But many of these are not following Him. Jesus said we are to take up our cross, deny ourselves, and follow Him. This means our “self” no longer rules and we live for Him (not that saved people do this perfectly all the time, but they DO do it). If a person shows no signs of repentance or salvation, then I would say they are not saved (but I am never with anyone 24-7 to know this for sure). James speaks about faith without works is dead and that a person would show their faith by their works. This means that if a person has real faith that saves, then there will be evidence flowing through their behavior that a change has taken place. In addition, Jesus told of a man who was “dressed in the wrong clothes” at “God’s Big Banquet in the sky.” Apparently he thought he was saved, but wasn’t.

Having said all that, I hasten to say that I cannot judge your husband by pronouncing him unsaved. It is just too deep for my spirit to do correctly. I would certainly encourage him to read the Word, attend church, and plug into other believers. If he refuses all of these options until his death, I doubt his salvation but I do not sit on God’s Throne. A good question to ask folks is not if they are a Christian, but rather are they following Jesus?


Pat T – I agree with everything Dave says and want to add something I recently read by Os Guinness who pointed out that some people have many obstacles in their life to overcome before becoming true believers, but as long as they are heading in the right direction we should never judge them but encourage them in their journey toward the faith. One’s mate can be such an encourager. Guinness also points out that some may never arrive to the faith but we can’t make that judgment, only God has the privilege to know another’s future.

Alona R – I think you answered Ruth well and your answer should be taken to heart by her husband and many others that we know. Thank you for that explanation – I think I’ll save this for future use!

Gary R – I think its a very slippery slope when people start questioning people’s salvation possibly because someone’s ideas about salvation do not conform to their beliefs or behaviors. Be careful.


“He became more important than me.”

Nowadays Americans are very busy people. Technology has made it possible to accomplish in one day what took a month years ago. Coupled with a strong emphasis on materialistic wealth, technology has made more slaves out of folks than some regimes. This incessant drive to achieve is also evident in foreign lands such as China and Japan among others. As knowledge increases at a faster rate than ever before, moral priorities tend to take a back seat. This can happen so slowly, however, that it can go unnoticed for years…then it may be too late for some.

I recently had the privilege of listening to Dr. David Shaff, an optometrist in Rochester, N.Y., share his 9-day death experience. His spirit left his body as a result of a severe heart attack while sleeping. He never knew what hit him. He was immediately in the presence of Jesus Christ Himself. They had an interesting talk as you could imagine. At one point in his talk, Dr. Dave said he realized how much we worry about things that seem important, but, in the reality of the big picture of this life, they are not.

As sinners from birth, we fail to perceive our major problem. Depravity blinds us to our plight, unless the Creator reveals truth to us. Enter the Bible. The fact that it still exists while being the most hated and attacked book of all history tells me it’s Special, in the most intriguing sort of way.

While interpretations may vary on smaller issues, the major issue is abundantly clear —- God made everything good, humans ruined things, God provided a way to escape eternal destruction, and we cannot earn it. Christianity is the only religion that asserts that eternal life is gained by grace rather than merit. How our souls spend eternity should be on everyone’s mind…constantly. I find this not so, however. Most people just have too many other concerns and worries to be bothered to seek out the redemption that guarantees eternal life.

Despite the Bible changing millions of lives for the better, it is still ignored by the majority. This amazes me. I was guilty of this very thing for the first 20 years of my life. But during my senior year in college, I heard a man who played the role of Jesus on a record say while he was being crucified, “Father forgive them for they know not what they do.” That captured my attention (and heart). That extraordinary love, that can be found no where else in history, made me realize that Jesus Christ is our Creator in the flesh therefore making Him the most important Person to ever walk this planet.

From that point on, I just had to read what He said and it changed my life. He became more important than me. Talk about a paradigm shift! I devoured the Bible like never before. That was at the end of 1970 and decades later I am still reading it. Once we realize that our true identity is hidden in Christ, our priorities become in line with what we were created to do.

The question for those who call themselves Christian is: Are you just a believer or a follower? If a follower, it becomes impossible to follow Him without reading the Scriptures often, every day if possible. If we really want to get to know Jesus intimately, we find Him in the “volume of the Book” (Psalms 40:7 & Hebrews 10:7). The first cause of backsliding is usually lack of Bible reading. This world has supernatural powers constantly vying for our affection and they do a high-powered brain washing job on us.

Priorities are always at issue. When we pray, we talk to God. When we read the Bible, He talks to us (if we let Him). When He talks to us, are brains (thoughts) are washed from this world (see Ephesians 5:26 & John 15:3). I think there is a direct correlation between time spent in the Bible and the depth of our walk with Jesus. Too many are mere believers and not followers. Among those followers, Bible reading will usually slowly decrease at some time during their Christian life. Watch out for that! It’s one of the early warning signs of backsliding.

The Bible is oh so powerful to bring folks to God and helps them live in a better way. I now understand why Satan and all his cohorts will continually attack it and discourage people from reading it. A careful reading of the Scriptures reveals that the sword that John saw coming out of Jesus’ mouth in the beginning of his vision for the Book of Revelation represents the Word of God. It is by this “sword” He conquers and restores throughout the Church Age.

This world steals verses from God’s Word and few realize the original source. One common phrase this world says is, “Man shall not live by bread alone.” This is from Deuteronomy 8:3 and quoted by Jesus to Satan during the three temptations. But what this world omits is the rest of that verse, which, of course, is the most important: “But man lives by everything that proceeds out of the mouth of the LORD.” When unsaved people hear the Word of God, they have a chance to re-connect with Him thereby obtaining eternal life. Can there be anything more important to an individual than this?! If followers want to continue their following of Jesus, they must read His Word continually. If our Bible begins to collect dust, then our hearts are slowly becoming hardened against the will of God for our lives. It happens slowly so we do not notice it. Satan is no fool, he believes in God and knows our weaknesses.

Maybe we should view the Bible as food. So think what your body would feel like if you went a week without eating any food. Well, that would be how weak you would be spiritually if you did not engage yourself in God’s Word for a week (week = weak).

I’ll leave you with this thought – out of all the words that God could have chosen to give us on earth, the ones in the Bible are it. Let us not ignore such a great opportunity to get to know Him and find our real purpose. Psalms 138:2 speaks volumes about how much God reveres His own Word, and 1 John 2:15-17 can help us with our priorities. If you are hungry to know God more, you will look those verses up. 🙂

Accepting Jesus

Chris L: What does it actually mean to believe/accept Jesus? We like to say it’s not what we ‘do’ but then don’t we turn around and say, ‘well, you do have to do this thing called accepting’ – what do we mean?

Dave: Believing in and accepting Jesus as our Lord and Savior rejects the idea that we can do enough good to merit eternal life with God. Rather it accepts the fact that we are helpless to save ourselves and therefore put our total trust in Jesus’ death and resurrection to cancel all our sin on Judgment Day. Either we believe this or we don’t. Therefore the only “doing” that we do is believe (although good works will automatically follow real faith as James 2:18 states).

Feedback so far:

LS: Receive is a better word because salvation (what Jesus offers) is a gift. There is no pride, good works or glory in receiving something that we could never provide for ourselves =).

GR: Brother Dave, that is as good and succinct explanation of believing in our Lord Jesus Christ that I have seen. I would only add that it is important to reject our sin and repent of our sin on a daily basis as part of our walk with Jesus. 

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